ELAS faculty are not only responsible for conducting regular classroom meetings, but also managing relationships between students and community partners while connecting course relevancy to the work students and communities are doing. This page is meant for faculty to think about different ways to design an ELAS course in ways that are meaningful for students, useful for communities, and helpful for the College as a "private institution for the public good."
Faculty stipends of up to $750 are available for course development. Creative approaches to community engagement are encouraged, and can include talks with community speakers, activists, and artists whose work focuses on engagement; community interactions through town meetings, relevant site visits, and trainings; project-based coursework or activities related to engagement; interactions with local leaders and community organizers; and volunteering as part of a project or program outside classroom hours. Assigned readings may include primary source material, student reflections on their experiences, and research related to a social issue being addressed through the engagement. Successful applicants will receive logistical support including transportation, community contacts and resources, and a dedicated student fellow.
Projects can be imagined in different levels of engagement depending on the student, community, or project medium utilized.
Where students are deeply involved with their project to the point they may be traveling, working with different mediums, addressing difficult or controversial topics, and/or can grow their project into something bigger and sustainable for future collaborations.
Classes that have integrated this approach include:
Peter Klein’s Hudson Valley Cities: Environmental (In)Justice
Maggie Hazen and Dave McKenzie’s Extended Media II: This Class is a Podcast
Project examples include:
Fundraising/advocacy for a community organization
Implementing a digital platform to assist with teaching or tutoring practices
Creating currencies to imagine new ways of socioeconomic community interaction
Recording and building upon interviews conducted by students for community partners
Historical tours and workshops for Bard or Germantown
Building a sustainable space for creativity and potential employment for students
A sound project that focuses on verbal/non-verbal perspectives on thematic areas
These projects can still develop practical skills, help communities, and provide a different level of thinking and learning without an intense fieldwork experience. Projects that include breakout activities, presentations, story writing and conversations, or team-based research all offer opportunities to positively impact classroom learning while developing students’ individual talents.
Classes that have integrated this approach include:
Adriane Colburn and Ellen Driscoll’s Art and Climate Change
Robyn Smyth’s EUS 102 and Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
Jonathan Becker and Erin Cannan’s Engaged Citizenship: Civic Engagement Locally, Nationally, and Globally
Eli Dueker’s (Urban) Oceanography
Carol Murray’s Pedagogy and Practice
Deirdre d’Albertis and Cammie Jones’ Women and Leadership
Project examples include:
Community Conversation Toolkits
A Care Conference
The Women and Leadership Summit
Students briefly focus for one to two weeks over the course of a semester on a specific assignment or topic connected with the course, community, and/or social justice issue. These classes allow for more time on readings and discussions, but invite expertise from other community leaders, or allow classrooms into the community.
Classes that have integrated this approach include:
Silvia Sacoon’s Mathematics of Puzzles & Games
David Woolner’s US-Russian Relations and the Founding of the UN
Maria Cecire’s Falling in Love
Swapan Jain’s Art & Science of Fermentation
Gabriel Perron’s Food Microbiology: Cider Making
Project examples include:
A final paper or presentation reflecting on a guest speaker or site of engagement and its relevance to course theory;
Putting course theory into practice by flipping the classroom and having each student present on a theoretical framework and how it could be used to address a community need
Consistency is key. This model retains the notion that students should have a consistent, engaging presence in the community so as to understand and/or apply theoretical discussions that occur in the classroom.
Course Examples Peter Klein’s Hudson Valley Cities: Environmental (In)Justice: By working specifically with Kingston, and its community organizations, students gained insight on the local operations of a nearby city. Visits to the classroom by community leaders, as well as students frequently exploring Kingston, contextualized class readings in tangible, realistic ways. Students also partook in several community conversations with local non profit leaders and community activists to thoroughly understand the community with which they were engaging.
Chris Lindner’s Historical Archeology: Students visited one archaeology site per semester on a weekly basis to engage with not only the artifacts, but the community as well. Students learned about the history of Germantown’s parsonage and/or Bard’s campus from the items they discovered as well as local historians and residents who shared stories about the surrounding areas.
Capstone or Practicum
Synthesizing understanding. This model is intended for students who already have experience being of service to a community. Courses using this model will ask students to take knowledge and experience they have obtained in the past and apply it toward relevant community work.
EUS Practicum: The practicum is meant to be an introduction to EUS-related careers and work (such as policy, planning, farming, and design). Primarily as a problem-solving class, the goal of the practicum is to offer students applied and engaged “real world” hands-on experience, working with a practitioner, to better understand how non-academics address problems and leverage systems. Practicums are taught by trained professionals and faculty, and the problems addressed shift widely. We have found that practicums are most successful when the practitioner is already familiar with Bard’s campus, the Hudson Valley, and the goals of the EUS program specifically, as the practicum often involves site visits and guest lectures as well as addressing local issues.
The program faculty strives to schedule and cycle practicums through the focus areas. We have recently taken steps to craft practicums that are more closely tied to Bard’s campus and region as a means to leverage our rich natural setting and the vibrant agricultural context of the Hudson Valley. For example, we have held several practicums focusing on the Bard and Montgomery Place Farms, a practicum focusing on environmental justice in regional urban centers (Hudson, Kingston), and a landscape design practicum re-imagining Bard Campus by more tightly integrating Montgomery Place’s natural resources into the campus experience.
Course Examples Jon Bowermaster’s EUS Practicum: Multi-media Environmental Storytelling: A team approach to storytelling--specifically environmental stories--through film, podcasting, radio, written word, photography and art. The class focused on the Hudson Valley region around Kingston as a place of social and environmental concerns. By connecting with community partners such as Radio Kingston and the Hudson River Maritime Museum, the class orchestrated a public showing in Kingston open to students, faculty, and community members. Topics included the farm-to-table permaculture program at Rhinebeck’s Camp Ramapo, air quality, and socially responsible investment on campus.
Eli Dueker or Robyn Smyth’s EUS 300+-level courses: Students, who are often EUS majors, applied prior course knowledge with established partners like the Sawkill Watershed Community (SKWC) toward current issues they are addressing. For example, students from Robyn Smyth’s Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration class worked with Bard’s Buildings and Grounds department to address the use of road salt during winter storms. After observing high levels of road salt depositing along Bard’s waterways, students suggested proposals to recycle the brine pumped from rivers and streams to reduce the use of road salt.
This model directly addresses and acts on a problem that has been identified by the community and offers a hands on approach. Students use, or develop, their skills so as to help communities solve a problem.
Course Examples Kwame Holme’s Mapping Police Violence course: Students collaborated on group research projects by using demographic analytical tools and datasets from the Police Data Initiative to collectively generate maps of police violence.
Kwame Holme’s Urban Abandonment: A team of students, referred to in this context as A Housing Justice Lab, worked together to identify properties in the Kingston area owned by LLCs and the relationship between landlords and the tenants and communities in which they own. By geocoding data accessed through public networks, the class posed researchable questions that will dive deeper into which institutions own properties, greater transparency in the Air BnB/Homeaway vacation rental market, and a wider geocoded area of each property parcel in the city of Kingston.
Duff Morton’s Anthropology of Institutions: Students working with Ulster Immigrant Defense Network created a replicable check-in system database of intake forms, needs assessments, and urgent requests with their clients in order to streamline reaching out to individuals or families during COVID-19.
Peter Klein’s Hudson Valley Cities: Environmental (In)Justice: Students created a resource network called Thrive On! Kingston to supply handmade masks, socks, toothpaste, detergent and other essential resources for Kingston residents who do not have access to them; Other teams started community conversation toolkits to express solidarity through dialogues and discussions in order to address the housing crisis and food security.
Josh Livingston’s Placemaking course: Students worked together to reimagine, build, and operate unused spaces/rooms on Bard’s campus to meet specific needs of the student body. Students learned "Skill building aspects--real world practical tools to problem solve and achieve goals. Showed me I could do things I wasn't sure I could and develop a relationship with community members I typically would not [meet]"
Equal benefit through reciprocity. This model asks students to dedicate a number of hours per week toward working with and producing something that will benefit a community site. Through classroom reflections and activities, students will be asked to critically think and/or creatively explore an analysis of their internship experiences using discipline-based theories.
Course Examples Duff Morton’s Anthropology of Institutions: Students were partnered with a local non-profit, community organization, or school to learn from the institution and help create a project that would help fulfill some need determined by that institution. Projects included creative book designing and musical Zoom meetings with students from George Washington Elementary in Kingston, a self-care guide for BHSEC students, and a client database for Ulster Immigrant Defense Network.
Learning through methodology. This model is intended for students who have experience and express interest in working with communities. By blending research methods with community advocacy, students develop skills in time management and communications that are necessary for implementing community-centered projects.
Course Examples Eli Dueker and Susan Rogers’ Writing, Science, and Environmental Issues: the Hudson River: This Big Ideas class was a science and writing-based course that allowed students to read about and experience the environmental issues of the Hudson River first-hand through day-long field trips, and through talks and lab work by and with regional scientists and environmental organizations. Students read extensively about environmental issues past and present of the Hudson River with an emphasis on scientific research and translate those findings into research-based essays.
Doing Ethnography: As a methods course, Doing Ethnography required students to engage in a semester-long research project on a field site of their choosing. Students read a variety of resources on ethnographic theory and methods while conducting and producing a research project of their own. By working with their chosen field site, getting assistance from the professor and their peers, learning about and submitting an IRB proposal, and engaging with texts students leave the classroom with the skills and knowledge necessary to work mindfully with human subjects.
Carol Murray’s Pedagogy and Practice: As part of Bard’s MAT courses available for undergraduates, students with an interest in teaching get an opportunity to learn about and work with a number of different local schools. Based out of Bard’s own Abigail Lundquist Botstein Nursery School, Pedagogy and Practice students worked primarily with a younger audience in order to foster skills of empathy, compassion, and care in a reciprocal teaching and learning environment. Students took part in organizing a Care Conference open to all community members who were interested in the topic of care. The conference featured guest speakers, workshops, and conversations. Students learned "Understanding conflict between students, and being able to articulate conversation between the children, and asking them to come up with solutions to solve their problems.” Such projects could transition digitally to Zoom meetings that can act in a similar manner as a conference.
Professor Chris Lindner with his Fall 2019 Ancient Peoples of the Bard Lands: Archaeological Methods and Theory class experimenting with making stone tools.
After completion of an ELAS course, the student is able to:
Demonstrate a commitment to be an involved citizen in their community.
Exhibit a commitment to social justice.
Demonstrate an increased sense of vocation.
As the result of an ELAS partnership, Bard is able to:
Help the community partner meet the agency's mission.
Promote the exchange of resources between the college and community agency.
Effect a positive change on the community members the agency serves.
Situate the college as a positive and just citizen in the community.
Budget Submissions, Honorariums, and Course Support
Receipts of purchases are to be submitted via email and scanned to Cammie Jones and ELAS staff as soon as a purchase has been completed.
Honorarium payment requests for speakers should be submitted to Cammie Jones and ELAS staff at least two week post the speaker's visit as well as a completed W-9 form in order to receive payment. If travel is included in the honorarium award, receipts documenting travel expenses must also be provided.
If travel or trip requests are part of your course's budget, please share the dates, attendee numbers, times and locations with Cammie Jones and ELAS staff as soon as possible so we may be able to secure proper transportation.
If your course needs funds for field trip admissions, please submit reimbursement requests with a receipt no later than two weeks post the conclusion of the trip.
Please keep in mind to track the progress of the proposed activities you have outlined in your ELAS course proposal and send periodic update reports to Cammie Jones and ELAS staff. The reports should entail the following: pictures and descriptions of the activities listed in your proposal. We will use the pictures and descriptions to illustrate the level of impact your course is having with the students and the surrounding communities.
CCE can provide assistance with marketing materials of final presentations and events connected within the course. Flyer requests should be sent to Cammie Jones and ELAS staff no later than 3 weeks prior to the event.
Expect a notice to schedule a time to visit your course to inform students about ELAS and how engagement is integrated within the course.
As the course continues to develop, please keep in mind to continue to incorporate ways students can interact with their communities.